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When I woke up the next morning, Scorpius was sound asleep in the chair next to me, his feet propped up on the very edge of my bed and his head hanging at an impossibly uncomfortable angle. His long hair had flopped down over his eyes and I could just barely make out the dark circles under his eyes. I felt the corners of my mouth tug up into a grin. He was so cute when he slept. Why couldn’t he be this innocent when he was awake?

I settled myself in my pillows comfortably, not wanting to alert Madame Pomfrey to the fact that I was awake. She would probably be loud and annoying and ruin my perfect moment. Or really, as close to perfect as I could ever get. Because now that I realized that everything that I thought had transpired between us was just a dream, it was hard for me to ignore the blossoming feelings I had for him.

He obviously did not return them – but that was okay. I was used to being rejected. So I would enjoy what time I had with him while I could. I also had to make sure I didn’t make it too obvious that I fancied him. Well, I was supposed to be dating him. It wouldn’t be that hard.

I stared at him for a while longer, and when he began to stir I shut my eyes and feigned sleep again. I felt his eyes on me and I tried not to grin or giggle and blow my cover. I heard him stand up and then stumble down the aisle towards where Madame Pomfrey’s office was.

I opened my eyes again and there he was, standing at the foot of my bed.

“Good morning, sunshine,” he said, smirking knowingly.

“Good morning, wanker,” I said darkly. “How did you know?”

“You’re a bad actress, Weasley,” he grinned.

I sighed and kicked the stiff blankets off of myself. I had to admit that despite the fact that my heart hurt, every other part of me was feeling great.

“Ah, Miss Weasley,” the matron said, coming round from another bed. “Feeling better are we?”

“Yes,” I responded. “I feel great.”

“You look it,” she said. “I asked a few house elves to bring down some clothes for you last night. You can wash up in the bathroom and get dressed. Then you just have to take one more potion and you’ll be on your way.”

“Thank you,” I said gratefully, taking the stack of black robes she handed me and running a hand through my hair. Yuck. It was greasy.

“Are you going to be going then Mr. Malfoy?” Madame Pomfrey asked Scorpius, who I just realized was still standing there.

“I think I’ll wait for Rose and walk her down to breakfast,” he said, eyeing me up and down. I felt a hot blush rise up in my cheeks.

“Suit yourself,” she replied, moving off again to help a little girl who had just walked through the doors looking green.

I hurried off to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I quickly discarded my cardboard-esque pajamas and turned on the hot water. As I waited for it to heat up I dared a quick glance in the mirror. I looked disgusting. Uh, and Scorpius had seen me like this.

I showered quickly and combed my long hair back off of my face. I dressed fast and waved my wand in the general direction of my head. I felt my scalp turn hot for a moment and then my dripping locks became dry. I dared another glance in the mirror. I didn’t look half bad.

I took a deep breath and walked back out into the Hospital Wing. Scorpius was sitting on the edge of my bed, my book bag draped lazily over his shoulder. He looked up at the sound of my footsteps and smiled when he saw me looking much better.

When I reached his side he stood up fully. “Are you ready to go?” he asked, his grey eyes peering down curiously at me. I looked up, sensing the double meaning to his words.

“Yes,” I said confidently. He reached out and twined his fingers through mine. I held out my other hand for my books, but he shook his head and readjusted the strap on his shoulder.

“She is free to go, Madame Pomfrey?” Scorpius called out to the matron.

I saw her poke her head out from behind a curtain a few rows down. She gave me a glance over and I could just make out her eyes settling on our hands for a moment before she looked at me again. “Yes, Rose seems to be better.”

“Thank you,” I called and her head disappeared again. Scorpius tightened his grip on my hand and began to tow me out of the Hospital Room. I stumbled after him.

“So how are you feeling?” he asked when we were out of the room. He slowed down our pace to a slow walk.

“Better,” I replied. “A little sore, but good.”

“That is good,” he said.

We walked on in silence for a little while. It wasn’t really awkward between the two of us, and yet it was not comfortable. I could tell that there was something else he wanted to ask me, and I had a hunch of what it was, but that was a topic I wanted to stay very, very far away from.

“Rose,” he said, coming to a halt at the top of the grand staircase. “What did the letter from your father say?”

Of course.

“I don’t really want to talk about it,” I said, fighting the onslaught of tears that I could feel brewing.

“Will you ever let me read it?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I said my voice thick. He squeezed my hand for a moment and then slackened his grip back to normal. “Where is the letter anyway?”

“Madame Pomfrey put it in your bag last night.”

“Did she read it?” I asked a hysterical edge to my voice. Those letters were my burden to bear, my shame. I didn’t need any nosy adults getting involved.

“I don’t think so,” he said, shrugging.

I let out a breath of relief.

“Are you ready to go in there?” he asked, shrugging his shoulder in the direction of the barely visible Great Hall.

“No,” I said chuckling. “But I don’t think I have much of a choice.”

He grinned lightly. “That you don’t.”

We walked down the rest of the stairs and I felt my hand gripping his tighter with every step. This was more nerve wracking than anything I’d ever done before. Even opening letters from my father or pre-Quidditch jitters paled in comparison to this anxiety.

“It will be fine,” I heard Scorpius murmur, although I wasn’t sure if the said that for my benefit or his. Either way he didn’t hesitate as he stepped over the threshold of the door and I followed obediently. The response wasn’t like anything I thought it would be.  

There was no slow motion scene were everyone grew quiet and stared at us. There was no big outburst of whispers and catcalls. There wasn’t really anything, except glares, a few whispers, and the occasional sniff of disdain. I stood still next to Scorpius and just looked at all my peers, probably for the first time since I was a first year. I hadn’t realized it lately, but there were a lot of students.

“Where do you want to sit?” Scorpius asked me and I jumped slightly.

“Er,” I said unsurely, glancing over at the Gryffindor table. I saw James glaring at me, his eyes livid and I didn’t want to look anymore.

“Anywhere you want to,” I said, looking up at him and hoping that he couldn’t tell why I didn’t want to sit at my own table.

“Okay then,” he said, grinning wickedly. I gulped down the fear and hatred I could feel bubbling in my stomach and walked slowly with him over to the Slytherin table. It was worse than the Gryffindor table by far. They were all glowering at me and holding sharp pointy objects. Past experiences, that I’d worked too hard to suppress to really think about again, told me that this combination was not a good one.

“Hey, mate,” Scorpius said, sitting down next to Anthony Zambini, a lanky chocolate colored skin boy in his year.

“’ello,” Anthony said, not looking up from his plate.

I slid in next to Scorpius and tried to keep as much of my face covered by my hair as possible.

“I think you know my girlfriend, Rose,” Scorpius said very loudly, much to my chagrin.

“Yes, we’ve met once or twice,” Anthony said, still not looking up. I could tell Scorpius was getting frustrated by his friend’s obvious disdain because his grip on my hand tightened so much that I lost feeling in my fingers.

“Uh, Scorpius,” I squeaked. He glared down at me but instantly softened his expression when he saw that my hand had turned purple.

“I’m sorry,” he said. He paused for a moment to see if anyone had noticed, but to be honest, no one was really paying us much attention. Maybe Scorpius had warned them to be nice, he was after all very popular and influential, or maybe they were trying to piss him off, but whatever the case I certainly didn’t mind.

“Here,” he said somewhat irritably. “You should eat.”

I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until my eyes followed his hand to the sausages. My stomach let out a loud grumble and I instantly clapped my arms over my abdomen, as if I was putting my hand over someone’s mouth.

There came a loud laugh to my left and I looked up with bright red cheeks to glare at Scorpius, but he wasn’t looking at me. I leaned back and saw that he and Anthony were both roaring with laughter.

“A little hungry, Weasley?” Anthony gasped, wiping his streaming eyes.

“Shut up, Zambini,” I growled, hiding behind my hair again. I felt Scorpius’s cool hand brush it back.

“Don’t hide,” he said to me, his grey eyes still dancing with mirth. “And you,” he turned to Anthony, “don’t laugh at my girlfriend.” As he said this his voice broke and he started laughing again.

“You’re so funny,” I growled, helping myself to a pancake and two sausages. Scorpius grabbed my hand when I reached for an apple.

“I’m sorry,” he said, trying very hard, but not succeeding at keeping a straight face.

“I haven’t eaten in nearly two days,” I said angrily. His expression instantly became serious and he began loading my plate with probably enough food to feed a small army.

“Scorpius,” Anthony said when he tried to lift a whole half a ham onto my plate, “she said she hasn’t eaten in two days, not a year.”

Scorpius paused with the ham in midair and I stared at the now two foot stack of food on my plate.

“Right,” Scorpius said. He took half the food onto his own plate.

“Thank you,” I squeaked, looking at Anthony. He winked in reply and I felt myself blush. He didn’t seem so bad after all.

We ate in silence, and for the first time, I really meant that. Usually at the Gryffindor table my friends and I would be quiet for a minute or two and then start talking again because one of our acquaintances would come over and bug us. But here, there really was hardly any talking at all. No one accidentally spit their food on their plate because their cousin stabbed them with a fork; no one singing the new Celestina Warbeck song at the top of their lungs; no one having a competition to see who can fit the most raisins up their nose. I kind of missed our morning wackiness. 

I was starting to nod off from the lack of conversation when I heard someone slide into the seat across from me. I looked up to see the very enraged face of Anna Rosier.

“Hello, Scorpius,” she hissed, her voice dripping with malice.

“Rosier,” he said, not looking up from his plate. I watched the exchange intently, feeling a little elated at the idea that he didn’t like her. Her pretty features turned into an ugly scowl as she turned to look at me.

“Look at what the cat dragged in,” she spat. “A Weasley.”

I glared right back at her. A huge part of me wanted to stab her smooth, dainty hand that was sitting on top of the table with my fork. But another part of me, probably the sanest part, reminded me that I was sitting at a table filled with her friends. A blatant attack like that would have been considered a death wish.  

I chose to glare at her instead of saying anything. My eyes roamed her face. She had nearly black, piercing eyes, and a spattering of freckles across her nose. Her skin was an olive color and her hair was a very dark brown, nearly black. I noted with great satisfaction that a good chunk of her hair seemed to be missing and that the rest was carefully styled to hide most of the damage.

“Nice hair,” I said, cocking an eyebrow at her. She scowled even deeper and I could feel Scorpius rocking with suppressed laughter next to me. Sure, now he has self-restraint.  

She opened her mouth to say something, but apparently decided it was better not to because she closed her mouth again. I watched curiously as she grabbed an orange from the bowl of fruit and put it on her plate, not bothering to touch it again. Did she not eat?

I figured that trying to understand Anna Rosier was a task too much for a psychotherapist, let alone me (who probably should be seeing a psychotherapist), and I let my interest in the subject wane.

I went back to eating in silence. It was really boring over at this table. Maybe it was because all the pureblood families demanded better table manners. We Weasleys didn’t have table manners. When most of your meals were served in a ‘you-catch-it-you-can-eat-it-but-do-it-quickly-before-someone-steals-it’ manner, you tend to lack proper etiquette.  

I was just starting to think that I might go insane from the extreme boredom when I felt something slimy and wet drop onto my head.

“What the hell?” I asked myself quietly, reaching a hand up to feel the wetness. I pulled my hand back and saw orange juice on my fingers. Scorpius turned to me and looked at the top of my head, which he could unfairly see without having to stand up, and pulled a smashed up orange wedge out.

“Did you shower in oranges today?” he asked, grinning down at me.

“No,” I growled, glaring over at Anna, who was looking determinedly in the other direction. Scorpius followed my line of sight and made the connection.

“Rosier,” he hissed. “Stop it.”

“I’m not doing anything,” she said stiffly, turning her neck at an impossible angle to look at him.

I felt it drop on my head again. “Stop it!” I said a bit louder now. I didn’t want to cause a scene, but I could tell that Scorpius was beginning to become frustrated.

“Maybe you should leave, Weasel,” she growled.

“She’s not going anywhere,” Scorpius said, putting his arm around my waist and pulling me uncomfortably to his side. I tried not to show my discomfort or embarrassment and tried to stick my nose up in the air at her. Then I wondered if that meant she could see up my nose, and if I had any bogies up there, and I lowered it again.  

“She’s not a Slytherin Malfoy,” Anna said tetchily. “She should go sit back at her own table with the rest of her redneck family.”

I don’t know what compelled me to do it. Maybe it was all the stress I was feeling. Maybe it was the fact that she and I were in essence competing for the same bloke. Or maybe it was the fact that I was a Gryffindor and she a Slytherin, and some prides just can’t be won over. Whatever the case, I found my fork flying out of my hand and then watched with mixed horror and satisfaction as it struck her smack in the forehead. It clattered to the floor, and it was as if time stopped. Everyone at the table was staring. Then I heard someone from behind me laughing.

I turned around to see Al standing there, looking from me, to Anna, to Scorpius and back again.

“Interesting love triangle you’ve got going on here, Rosie,” he said, chuckling lightly.

“You don’t even know the half of it,” I muttered, and Scorpius elbowed me sharply in the ribs. I winced visibly and his eyes immediately widened.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Your ribs were just broken. Wow, I’m a prick. I’m so sorry,” he said in a rush, running his hand up and down my side as if this would make it feel better.

“Please just don’t touch it,” I said through clenched teeth.

“Nice going, mate,” Anthony interjected. Scorpius whipped his head around and glared at his friend.

“What are you doing here?” I asked Al, trying, but failing at keeping a hint of animosity out of my voice.

“I just wanted to see how you were feeling,” he said, looking down at his shoes.

“Much better,” I replied icily. “Not that you’d care.”

“Rose,” he began.

“No,” I said sharply, cutting him off. “I don’t want to hear it. C’mon Scorpius,” I stood up. I was still shorter than Al, but Scorpius was not, and I must say we must have made an impressive scene standing squared off against one another.

I practically dragged him out of the Great Hall.

“What was that about?” he asked, cocking one eyebrow at me.

“It was nothing,” I said, trying to keep my tone nonchalant.

“It did not look like nothing,” he said suggestively.

“Why are you being so nosy lately?” I snapped.

He seemed taken aback. “Well, it’s not like you tell me anything. I’m starting to wonder what kind of mess I’ve got myself into.”

Heh, welcome to my life buddy.

“You don’t tell me everything either,” I retorted angrily.

“My reasons for all of this are on a need to know basis, Weasley,” he said angrily. “And I don’t think you need to know.”

“Well then quit pestering me,” I cried loudly. A few faces that we passed turned to look at us, but we kept on walking. I was definitely getting better at this ignoring what people thought of me thing.

“That’s impossible,” he said.

“Why?”

“Because it’s too much fun,” he smirked. I hit him on the arm.

“Go to class,” he commanded, stopping us suddenly.

“Aren’t you going to walk me there?” I asked, turning to face him.

“We’re already here,” he said, chuckling.

I turned around. Sure enough, there was the door to the Transfiguration classroom. Funny, I didn’t remember walking there.

“Right,” I said. He laughed again.

“You’re funny, Weasley.”

“I try,” I sighed. I felt his hand slip from my hand to around my waist. He pulled me close to him and then pressed his lips lightly to mine.  He pulled away quickly.

“I’ll see you after class,” he said and released my waist.

“Sounds good,’ I replied and took my bag from him. He smiled once again and then sauntered off down the hallway. I walked into the classroom and was surprised to find that everyone there seemed to be whispering conspiratorially. It all died down when I stepped through the doors and I let out an audible sigh.

I walked past them all without shrinking away, but having all of their eyes on me was incredibly unnerving. I took my seat at the front of the room and pulled out a fresh sheet of parchment and a quill so that I was ready when McGonagall came in and so that I looked busy.

The whispering picked up again and I put my head into my hands. Trying to ignore all of this by myself was going to be a lot harder than I imagined.

 

 


 A/N: Whew! Another one done! I'm getting better at this fast updating thing. I know that this chapter seems pretty boring, but pay very close attention to this chapter. I tried my skills at foreshadowing, but it all came out pretty pathetic, I think. Maybe you'll get it. Maybe you won't. I'll give you a hint. It has to do with Al. Dun dun dun! 

Heh, anyway, Happy Halloween everyone. It isn't Halloween here yet, but it will be in about four hours, so I figure we can celebrate early. 

I don't know when the next update is going to be. I'll do my best to update as soon as I possibly can, but please don't expect these quick updates during November. I'm gonna try to go for once every two weeks. Thanks for your patience guys! 

Please, please, tell me what you thought of this chapter. Review! :) Thanks for reading!

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